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Grand River Water Festival: Musical education with an environmental twist


If you live in the state of Michigan then it is pretty clear that at some point along your journey you will encounter a body of water. In fact, it is has been widely shared within groups who serve to protect this life-giving source, that in Michigan you are never more than six miles from a source of fresh water. 

Michigan is not just home to the Great Lakes but is filled with more than 65,000 inland lakes, making our state truly a water wonderland. 

But with this comes great responsibility to honor this gift, and so it is time to gather on the banks of Grand Rapids’ mighty and majestic Grand River at Riverside Park for the Grand River Water Festival. 

Returning for the eighth year to the river bank of this urban park, the Grand River Water Festival is a celebration of our water through live music, speakers, community activities (for adults and children), and hands-on environmental education.

Throughout the day, ten Michigan-based bands like Fauxgrass, Hawks and Owls, Magdalen Fossum, and Drew Nelson and Highway 2 will present a program spanning a host of musical styles from traditional folk, country, bluegrass, Cajun, blues, and world beat music. 

As with every year, in between the bands’ performances, the Grand River Water Festival will present local politicians, environmental experts, and educators who will briefly speak on the topic of water quality, as well as introduce attendees to the many environmental organizations of our region who are working to ensure this gift is protected and handed down for generations to come.

There is even a story tent where you can add your personal narrative about your experience with Michigan’s waterways. It is something that began in 2008 and I am glad to see the organizers are keeping a part of this year’s event.

And while you may have a lot to do this weekend, the easy format of this event is perfect for those with a busy schedule. Even if you cannot enjoy a full day in Riverside Park, then stop in for a spell and take a break with some of the best musicians West Michigan has to offer. A complete overview of the acts and speakers can be found here
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